President of Brandeis Will Step Down

The president of Brandeis University will step down less than five years after taking office, The Boston Globe reports. Frederick M. Lawrence, who was named president in 2011, will become a senior research scholar at Yale Law School at the end of this academic year. In a campuswide letter, Perry M. Traquina, chairman of the Board of Trustees, credited Mr. Lawrence with a balanced budget and an increase in applications. The university’s provost, Lisa Lynch, will become interim president on July 1.

Brandeis University President Frederick M. Lawrence announced Friday he will step down at the end of the academic year to become a senior research scholar at Yale Law School. In a campuswide letter, Lawrence said that he was “tremendously proud of the ways Brandeis has grown and thrived” since he took over the Waltham college in Jan.

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Another San Francisco Campus Closes Over Earthquake-Safety Concerns

Literally and figuratively, City College of San Francisco is on shaky footing.

Officials at the community college announced on Thursday that it would close its second campus in three weeks out of earthquake-safety concerns, the San Francisco Examiner reports. The announcement three weeks ago—one day before classes were set to begin—that the college’s Civic Center campus would close was greeted with consternation from faculty members. “It’s not ideal,” a college spokesman, Jeff Hamilton, told the newspaper. “It’s highly disruptive to our students and faculty. We’re sorry about that.”

City College of San Francisco has, for the past few years, been locked in a battle with its accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, to stay open. The commission recently granted the college a two-year reprieve from closure.

The student shuffle continues at City College of San Francisco. The Gough Street campus will now close due to seismic safety concerns, school officials told faculty Thursday. This follows the announcement three weeks ago that CCSF’s Civic Center campus on Eddy Street would close because it too is seismically unsafe.

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Chinese Minister Rips Textbooks Promoting ‘Western Values’

China’s education minister says there is no place in the country’s college classrooms for textbooks that promote “Western values,” The New York Times reports. Included in language that should be banned are anti-Communist or anti-socialist rhetoric, according to Yuan Guiren, amplifying a crackdown on dissent that goes back several years and heightened restrictions on Internet use.

“Never allow statements that attack and slander party leaders and malign socialism to be heard in classrooms,” Mr. Yuan said, according to the state news agency. “Never allow teachers to grumble and vent in the classroom, passing on their unhealthy emotions to students.”

In law school at Peking University in the late 1970s, Li Keqiang, now China’s premier, was an avid student of English and helped translate texts that gave his generation its first, exhilarating exposure to Western legal ideals after the death of Mao. Today, however, Mr. Li’s work might be considered dabbling in subversion.

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2 Resign in Protest of Popular Dean’s Removal at Western Michigan U.

[Updated (1/30/2015, 5:22 p.m.) with news of the no-confidence vote.]

Two associate deans at Western Michigan University have stepped down to protest the treatment of a popular dean whose contract was not renewed, reports, a Michigan news site. And in a meeting on Friday, the faculty union voted no confidence in the institution’s provost for his handling of the incident, though the result is unofficial because professors have until Monday to vote electronically.

The provost, Timothy J….


Wisconsin Governor Stirs a Debate Over What Professors Actually Do

Just what do university professors do all day?

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has been hearing plenty on that topic since he remarked this week, during a discussion of his proposal to cut state appropriations for the University of Wisconsin system by $300-million over two years, that the universities “might be able to make savings just by asking faculty and staff to consider teaching one more class a semester.

The governor’s comment, writes the Journal Sentinel, a newspaper in Milwaukee, bares…


New Chinese Crackdown on Internet Access Draws Academic Critics

University professors in China and Chinese students hoping to study in the United States are among the sharpest critics of recent efforts by Beijing to hamper the widespread use of virtual private networks to bypass the country’s tight Internet restrictions, The New York Times reports.

The students have used the networks, known as VPNs, to submit online applications to American colleges. The professors say the government’s new crackdown, which has disrupted VPNs to an unparalleled degree, has made it impossible for them to use Google Scholar, a search tool providing links to a vast archive of scholarly papers.

The Times quoted a naval historian as saying, “It’s like we’re living in the Middle Ages.” A biologist said the results of the crackdown “suggest little respect for the people actually engaged in science.”

Chinese authorities have long had the ability to interfere with V.P.N.s, but their interest in disrupting such programs has mounted alongside the government’s drive for so-called cyber-sovereignty, especially since President Xi Jinping came to power two years ago. Lu Wei, the propaganda official Mr. Xi appointed as Internet czar, has been unapologetic in promoting the notion that China has the right to block a wide array of online content.

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Charges Are Dropped Against 5 Accused of Rape at William Paterson U.

A grand jury has declined to indict five William Paterson University of New Jersey students who were accused of raping and kidnapping another student on the institution’s campus last fall, the news outlet reported. All charges against the five men have been dropped.

Speaking after the decision by the grand jury, in Passaic County, N.J., a lawyer for one of the five men complained about the university’s treatment of the accused students. They were expelled without being given a …


Federal Agency Asks Banks for Straight Talk on Help for Student-Loan Borrowers

Federal regulators are keeping up the pressure on banks to do more to help struggling student-loan borrowers.

A year ago, Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, convened the nation’s largest lenders and loan servicers to urge them to offer modified repayment plans to borrowers facing default. Since then, two of the largest lenders, Wells Fargo and Discover, have announced that they will offer modified plans. (Wells Far…


Dispute Among Scholars Dooms Gift to Russian-Studies Group

A controversy among scholars of Russian studies has resulted in the death of a proposed gift to a major association that would have provided much-needed financial support for the discipline, The New York Times reports.

The dispute concerns the Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen, who is an emeritus professor at New York and Princeton Universities. Mr. Cohen’s views about American foreign policy in Ukraine are controversial, and he has been described as an apologist for Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’…


Academics vs. ‘Ballghazi,’ Round 2

News outlets are no longer the only ones asking academics about the science of deflated footballs. Investigators for the National Football League have approached physics professors at Columbia University to help them understand how footballs supplied by the New England Patriots might have lost two pounds of air pressure during the first half of a conference championship game last week.

After first calling the university’s physics department, a representative of the law firm hired by the league…